Live cattle prices were higher today, along with the number of cash cattle trading hands. Feeder cattle saw some slight declines.
Live cattle contracts were up, with the February contract up 27 cents to $116.72 and the April contract up 2 cents to $123.77.
“If it wasn't for stronger cash cattle trade developing and higher midday boxed beef prices, the market would be strongly encouraged to trade lower. But, thankfully, the stars are aligning for feedlots and the nearby contracts,” remarked ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, in her midday comments.
Cash trade finally picked up, with 41,015 head averaging $112-114.50. Dressed steers averaged $178-180. On the formula side, a total of $13,600 head averaged 896 lbs. and were priced at $180.11.
Boxed beef prices saw some slight gains, with the Choice cutout up 33 cents to $234.58 and the Select cutout up 35 cents to $220.79 on 100 loads.
Slaughter for the day is projected at 113,000 head, several thousand head below last week and the same time last year. The decline in slaughter is likely attributed to a Cargill plant down for scheduled maintenance. Tomorrow’s slaughter is projected at 70,000 head to try and make up for the missed weekday numbers.
“Feeder cattle and corn futures continue to play cat and mouse; if one is higher, the other is doggishly lower,” Stewart said.
This remained true for much of the day, but Friday closed with both feeder cattle and corn prices lower. March corn was down only a penny to $5.48, but the March feeder cattle contract was down $1.22 to $138.27 and the April contract was down 47 cents to $142.20.
The latest CME Feeder Cattle Index was reported down 62 cents to $135.65.
South Dakota: Mitchell Livestock Auction in Mitchell sold 5,287 head yesterday. Compared to last week, five-weight feeder steers sold steady to $5 lower; steers 600-800 lbs. sold $1-3 lower; and steers 800 lbs. and up sold steady to $4 lower. Feeder heifers 550-750 lbs. were $2-4 lower; heifers 750-850 lbs. sold steady to $1 higher; and a steady to lower undertone was noted on heifers 850 lbs. and up. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor